There are federal, state, and local fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination based on protected characteristics in the rental, sale, financing and insuring of housing.
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, family status, and disability.
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on the federally protected characteristics as well as sexual orientation, age, marital status and military status.
The New York City Human Rights Law includes the federal and state’s protected characteristics (except military status), and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, domestic partnership status, alienage/citizenship status, lawful occupation, lawful source of income, and status as victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, and stalking.
Other localities in the New York region have fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination in housing based on additional protected characteristics. Please contact the FHJC about protections available under these local laws.
In some instances, the FHJC may be able to gather additional information by conducting a fair housing testing investigation. Sometimes, testing evidence enables a victim of discrimination to meet his/her burden of proving that unlawful discrimination occurred.
The FHJC can also assist with referral to government enforcement agencies and to cooperating attorneys on a case-by-case basis.
These services are provided by the FHJC free of charge and without regard to household income.
To report discrimination, please call 212-400-8201 or fill out our form. **Please note that in-person appointments with the FHJC are by appointment only.
If you suspect that you that you may have been discriminated against, contact the FHJC. Let our intake personnel help you sort through the facts. In some instances, we may be able to gather additional information by conducting a fair housing testing investigation.
The FHJC also accepts anonymous tips from individuals who possess information about possible housing discrimination. If you are a current or former employee of a real estate company, rental management office, coop or condo board, lending institution, or other housing provider and you have information about discriminatory housing practices, we encourage you to contact our office.
Since opening our doors twelve years ago, the FHJC has assisted well over a thousand individuals and organizations to exercise their fair housing; opened up tens of thousands of housing opportunity to populations previously excluded; brought legal challenges that recovered millions in damages and penalties; and influenced local, state, and federal fair housing policy. Learn more here.
For more information about reasonable accommodation, please read the U.S. Department of Justice and HUD’s Joint Statement on Reasonable Accommodation.
Housing providers must agree to permit physical modifications to a building or dwelling unit when such modifications would permit a person with a disability to access, use, and enjoy a dwelling unit. However, the question of who must pay the cost of the modification depends on which laws cover the situation.
Also, all multifamily housing designed and constructed after 1991 must comply with accessibility requirements found in the federal Fair Housing Act. For more information on the seven accessibility guidelines for new construction, see http://www.fairhousingfirst.org/
- Save receipts, copies of advertisements or listings, rental applications, correspondence, financing information, and business cards that you accumulate during your search.
- Keep a journal or take detailed notes during your search to keep track of the different places and properties you visit, the agents you contact, and the dates when you have contact with agents during your search. The FHJC can also provide you with a copy of our Rental Search Log in English or Spanish so that you can keep track of your housing search.
- Whenever you have contact with a housing provider, obtain the name of the person you are speaking with early in the conversation. If discriminatory comments are made or you observe conduct that might suggest unlawful housing discrimination, contact the FHJC as soon as possible.
The FHJC also offers presentations and workshops on fair housing and specific fair housing issues to civic, religious, educational, and community organizations to raise awareness about fair housing rights. If you are interested in hosting a fair housing workshop in your community or organization, click here.